What is the main cause of sciatica? Many would venture to say pressure on the sciatic nerve. But wrap your head around this: although pressure is often thought to be the main catalyst of sciatic nerve pain (especially during pregnancy), sciatica may begin way before any kind of pressure is applied to your sciatic nerve. Does that fly in the face of most everything you’ve head? Mind. Blown.
Dehydration Causing Sciatica
But if the root of your sciatica problem is not pressure, what is it? For some, the sciatica nightmare actually starts because of dehydration, particularly dehydration of the spinal discs.
Water is important for your muscles and joints, especially your spine. Between your spinal discs (they make up your vertebrae) is cartilage, which needs a lot of moisture to remain lubricated and thus functioning properly. Letting cartilage dry out will only result in:
- loss of disc height
- the discs losing their ability to be shock absorbers
So what happens then? If your spinal discs continue to be dehydrated, they will rub together more, causing more friction and wear-and-tear on your spine. Movement could get more difficult. The weakened discs can also make injury more likely, as they are not always strong enough to bear the body’s stress (a pregnant body’s stress). If your sciatica during pregnancy is ultimately blamed on a lumbar disc herniation, dehydration could be the underlying culprit. The stress your body puts on your dehydrated spine usually results in the discs bulging outward, as if collapsing under the pressure. Sometimes the disc will even break through into the spinal canal. All of this can cause….you guessed it, pressure on the sciatic nerve.
The Reasons Behind Dehydration Of The Spine
Your spinal discs could lose water for two reasons:
- You are not drinking enough water
Drinking 10 cups of water a day when you are pregnant should be a priority.
Dehydrated spinal discs is sometimes just a part of aging. As you age, spinal discs naturally lose their lubrication. This loss of cartilage and thus weakening of the spine can begin as early as your late twenties, which is coincidentally when many women have children. Go figure! Do you see the connection here?
In either case, dehydrated spinal discs is bad. You do not want those bad boys to dry out! But by using some tricks to keep on top of your liquid intake, you can help keep your spine wet and your pregnancy sciatica-free!